Everyone’s breastfeeding journey starts with two essentials – breasts and a baby. What else you need will very much depend on your personal experience and preferences.
For some, the journey is straightforward and other than a good bra and a few pads, that’s pretty much all they will require. However, most breastfeeders will at some point utilise a range of products to make their experience more comfortable and successful.
Because everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different, below we outline a range of products that, depending on the challenges you find yourself facing, will help support you to continue breastfeeding for as long as you like.
1. Nursing Bras
Especially in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, your breasts may feel full and heavy and even a little uncomfortable as your milk supply adjusts. You will likely need to wear your nursing bra 24 hours a day for the first few months as your breasts may leak and be uncomfortable without one. Look for one that is soft and comfy and has cups that can easily be unhooked with one hand.
2. Breast pads
Many breastfeeders find their breasts leak in the first few months even when they are wearing a bra. Breast pads help soak up the leaks and there is a huge range available from disposable to washable/reusuable. You may go through several a day so consider stocking up on them.
3. Breastfeeding clothes
Breastfeeding tops come with cleverly hidden slots to allow you to feed without exposing your whole breast and / or torso. There is a huge range available online – or you could just choose to pull up your top.
4. Breastfeeding pillows
When you start on your breastfeeding journey your baby will be very small and the gap between your lap and your breast quite large. Some people find specially designed breastfeeding pillows really useful to help keep both parties relaxed and comfy – especially if you’ve had a caesarean. You can also use them to help you try different feeding positions.
5. Nipple cream
As you and your baby learn breastfeeding, sore, cracked and bleeding nipples can occur. Check in with your Lead Maternity Caregiver and other health professional to ensure your baby is latching on correctly. While you get that sorted, a nipple cream can be used to soothe the nipple.
6. Breast care
At times during your breastfeeding journey your breasts may feel very full and tender. You may be able to relieve your engorged breasts between feeding using cold compresses.
Keep an eye out for mastitis, an inflammation or even infection of the breast. If you suspect you have mastitis, it is important to see your Doctor or LMC straight away.
7. Breast pump and associated equipment
Expressing or pumping your breastmilk can help reduce discomfort from full breasts, increase supply, or mean someone else can feed your baby if you can’t. It is possible to hand express your milk or you can use either a manual or electric breast pump. You will also need to consider how you are going to store the pumped milk so breastmilk storage bags are handy.
8. Comfy chair
If you have space in your baby’s room a comfy chair is a real benefit. Especially when your baby is young you may spend a lot of time feeding, winding and comforting so being able to do this when you are well supported is ideal.
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass”